Zec not ready for polls

HARARE - For the past two months or so, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has been on a whirlwind public relations tour to inform us they are ready for elections.

We are told all Zec needs is money and a date and all will be well. In its statements, Zec shifts blame to others for the 2008 chaos, but does not tell us how they technically manage elections, how they will ensure we are registered, how they will remove restrictions on voter registration including demands for proof of residence in a country where more than half the urban population do not own homes.

And where chiefs and headman are partisan and denying political opponents’ residencyeconfirmation letters.
 
Zec blames the 2008 election fiasco on political parties. At the same time Zec cannot assure us of a free and fair election yet they bestow that role to political parties.

All this points to the fact that Zec is not ready for elections. If Zec cannot control the electoral process to ensure a free and fair election, why then go for such an election in the first place?

Zec is far from being an independent electoral management body (EMB) but is managed by individuals who have dismally failed to run elections in the past including its deputy chair.

We wonder why someone would stick around an EMB for such a long time as if they have nothing else to do in life. Are such individuals and a cohort of Zec’s security men and women so desperate in life?

The question on the ability of Zec to run elections must be tied to its capacity to deal with technicalities of election management.

Is Zec in a position to ban war mongers who have threatened to cause havoc should their parties lose?

How will Zec deal with Zanu PF’s public statements that it will not accept losing the elections?

Is Zec telling us it is ready for elections simply to endorse Zanu PF?

Can Zec ensure political parties pledge to respect the outcome of elections? More importantly, can Zec guarantee the sanctity of the vote? The world over election results are public information, but in Zimbabwe it is a crime to share election results.

In 2008 Zec failed to post results outside constituency offices and provincial election offices. Zec then went on a month of hibernation “cooking the results”, yet they deny this now and blame political parties.
Can Zec assure us results will be posted outside not only the polling stations, but the district election offices as well as provincial offices?

Can Zec assure us they will not be subservient to the political goons? How are we to be sure that all Zimbabweans — the millions of youths who are unregistered, the high number of women who are unregistered are able to vote?

Is Zec going to launch a nationwide voter registration exercise that seeks to encourage rather than limit the participation of citizens in elections?

What is the relationship between Zec and the Registrar General’s Office, why can’t Zec handle the voters’ roll and if it is a capacity issue why don’t they build the capacity to handle the voters’ roll and register voters on their own?  

How is Zec going to handle the postal votes which are not verified and have been used as in some constituencies to tip the vote in favour of Zanu PF?

Can Zec publicise a checklist of its technical management of all these issues, from voter registration, curbing violence and intimidation, voting process, counting and announcement of results.
 
Zec must not waste money on PR meant to pull wool on our eyes when in fact the body is part of an elaborate election rigging machinery.

In 2008, Zec had huge computers at a local hotel, to fool us that they were working, when the final election process was taking place somewhere.

The men and women at Zec unashamedly perpetuate our suffering by denying us leadership renewal, as long as their pockets are lined.

And be assured they have no answers to issues raised here, so don’t expect any.

Shame on you Zec. - David Mutomba

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